Cybersecurity Keynote Speaker, National Security Strategist at VMWare Carbon Black, Bestselling Author, Former FBI, and Inspiration for the Film Breach
In 2001, Eric O’Neill helped capture the most notorious spy in United States history: Robert Hanssen, a 25-year veteran of the FBI. The remarkable true events of his life are the inspiration behind the critically acclaimed dramatic thriller Breach, starring Ryan Philippe as O’Neill. The film set inside the FBI – the gatekeeper of the nation’s most sensitive and potentially volatile secrets – is the story of the greatest security breach in US history. Preceding Hanssen’s arrest, O’Neill worked with the spy within the information assurance division that protected all classified FBI intelligence. O’Neill gained Hanssen’s trust and used that relationship to slowly draw the traitor out of deep cover.
O’Neill began his career in the FBI as a graduate of the FBI’s Intelligence Program. He spent the first five years of his career as a special surveillance group field operative tasked to surveil and monitor foreign, national, and domestic terrorists and spies. He transitioned from field operative to direct undercover work focusing on Hanssen. Although his prior training had focused on “ghosting” targets from the shadows, he engaged his target in conversation in order to elicit information needed to catch Hanssen in the act of espionage. The singular nature of the assignment, one with little backup or support, required O’Neill to draw from deep reserves of courage and confidence within himself to battle Hanssen’s mind games and aggressive probing and learn to “stop reacting to Hanssen and begin acting.”
The Georgetown Group
Currently, Eric O’Neill runs The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security consultancy, where he specializes in counterintelligence operations, investigations into economic espionage, cyber security penetrations, internal investigations, catching the trusted insider and security risk assessment consulting out of Washington, DC. Eric is also the National Security Strategist for Carbon Black, the leader in next generation endpoint protection, where he provides insight and advice on strategic cyber-security issues and will work to ensure Carbon Black is an active participant in the conversation about the national strategy for cyber security.
Eric is also the author of Gray Day, the thrilling story of how Eric helped take down notorious FBI mole Robert Hanssen, the first Russian cyber spy.
O’Neill’s story is one of patriotism, of decisive action in the face of fear, and of learning to maintain confidence in ability even if it looks like success is impossible. He has told his story in national media, in print, on radio, and on television including 20/20, Nightline, Hardball with Chris Mathews, Fox News Power Player of the Week with Chris Wallace, CNN, CSPAN’s Washington Journal, NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” World News Now, MTV, and Access Hollywood.
A talented motivational speaker who weaves real life experiences into a presentation that is both entertaining and rewarding, Eric O’Neill provides practical insights into real work situations relevant to many industries. In addition to his experience in the Hanssen case, he also addresses the issues of confidence and patriotism, the threat to United States security posed by terrorism, foreign intelligence services, the cyber threat to our national infrastructure and the national conscience in a monitored society.
Cyber Security in the Age of Espionage
The cyber theft of private and confidential information from government agencies, business, and private individuals exceeded $6 trillion in 2021. The modern spy is responsible for these technologically advanced attacks targeting your data. Robert Hanssen was the first of these new cyber spies, charged with selling American secrets to Russia for more than US$1.4 million in cash and diamonds. His ability to exploit computer systems allowed him to protect his identity during a 22-year spy career. In this exciting and informative talk, Eric O’Neill uses real-life spy stories and a review of recent massive cyber-attacks to show how careful diligence, counter-espionage techniques, and zero trust can help identify the numerous spies, hackers, cyber criminals, and trusted insiders that threaten the data that is the currency of our lives.
Gray Day: How I Caught the Most Damaging Spy in American History
Imagine if the FBI locked you in a room for eight hours a day with the most ruthless and damaging spy in United States history. Imagine feeling unqualified and outgunned, knowing the country depends on you to succeed despite the fact no one has provided the means to do so. Robert Hanssen was a notorious cyber spy charged with selling American secrets to Russia for more than US$1.4 million in cash and diamonds. His ability to exploit computer systems allowed him to protect his identity during a 22-year spy career. In this edge-of-the-seat spy thriller talk, Eric O’Neill shares intricate details of the investigation and shows how you can find success inside yourself by setting small goals that lead to big accomplishments until finally, through courage, confidence, and determination, victory is achieved.
Cyber Spies Are Holding Your Data Hostage; This Is How You Stop Them
Ransomware is not only the most damaging and costly cybercrime, it is a go-to tool for spies, terrorists, and attackers. Over the last three years, ransomware attacks increased 2,500 percent and security experts predict that this economic boom industry will cost $11.5 million by 2019. In this lively and entertaining talk, cybersecurity expert Eric O’Neill uses humor and stories to explain why ransomware has taken the dark web by storm, why terrorists and spies are launching the largest ransomware attacks, how a single email can cause catastrophic damage and the easy steps you and your organization can take to save your data.
Data Is The Currency Of Our Lives; This Is How You Protect It
In the information age, your company’s most precious asset is data. How can you keep it secure? In this lively and informative talk, cybersecurity expert, author and spy hunter Eric O’Neill uses true stories informed by decades of work as an undercover operative in the FBI and security consultant to help you protect your information. Audiences will learn about the need for diligence; critical areas in physical security; phishing and email hacks; social media do’s and don’ts; how spies recruit; economic espionage; preventing the insider threat; and why it is important to hunt the threat before the threat hunts you.
The Human Element: The Weakest Link In Every Security System Is Not A Computer
Security professionals must not only look outward when securing a system, they must become spy hunters, looking for internal exploits and penetrations that may not be easy to detect. Includes an analysis of Robert Hanssen, Edward Snowden and other recent internal penetrations. This often humorous look at a sobering topic prepares organizations for a top down approach to hunting the trusted insider.
Surviving the Age of Social Media: What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself From Social Media Spies And Fraudsters
Hacking is the necessary evolution of espionage. As people have moved their lives, relationships and personal data online, spies have learned to exploit this data in order to steal identities, intellectual property and more. Learn the most critical ways that spies are stealing your data by leveraging your social media accounts and how you can take steps to stop them.
All Eric O’Neill Books
Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America’s First Cyber SpyPurchase Book
"Eric O’Neill’s presentation on “An Insider's Look into the Robert Hanssen Investigation: How the FBI Caught the Worst Spy in American History” is a breathtaking insight into one of the worst spies in United States history. Eric presented on never before heard facts that wowed the audience and left everyone wanting more. His professional approach and mild mannered attitude were spot on for an engaging delivery. Everyone was so focused on Eric for the full hour that you could have heard a pin drop in a room of 1,000+ attendees. Eric is truly a once in a lifetime speaker that everyone should see and hear in person!"
- | NCMS Seminar Committee
"Eric O’Neill totally captured our conference audience with his insights on cybersecurity and its similarity to locating spies within. Approximately 250 people were fully engaged and asking for more at the end of the hour. Eric is definitely a powerful speaker and not-to-be missed."
- | Kathy Kimball, CISO University of Virginia
"Eric was the perfect guest speaker for our event. With an audience of IT Security folks, he not only captivated the room with his thrilling espionage story, but also incorporated our latest cybersecurity report and other cybersecurity themes into his talk. Eric has a long list of interesting topics he can speak on, and we hope that we can bring him back to speak again in the future."
- CloudLock | Carrie Page , Manager, Events & Partner Relations